Wrought iron is an ironalloy with a very low carbon content in contrast to cast iron, and has fibrous inclusions, known as slag. This is what gives it a "grain" resembling wood, which is visible when it is etched or bent to the point of failure. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile and easily welded. Historically, it was known as "commercially pure iron"; however, it no longer qualifies because current standards for commercially pure iron require a carbon content of less than 0.008 wt%.
Before the development of effective methods of steelmaking and the availability of large quantities of steel, wrought iron was the most common form of malleable iron. A modest amount of wrought iron was used as a raw material for manufacturing of steel, which was mainly used to produce swords, cutlery, chisels, axes and other edged tools as well as springs and files. Demand for wrought iron reached its peak in the 1860s with the adaptation of ironclad warships and railways, but then declined as mild steel became more available.